What it means to be a woman in nerd culture: The fake geek girl
The ‘fake geek girl’ trope revolves around the idea that girls interested in anything remotely geeky, aren’t actually interested, no all they want are boyfriends. I have a problem with this. Not only does this rely on a two dimensional view of women who live to ensnare men by any means possible (particularly those irresistible guys who view them as sex objects), but it also results in female fans hiding their true genders. This harmful view of women in nerd culture has resulted in the alienation of women from the community and has acted as a deterrent to women interested in gaming or sci fi.
As the ‘fake geek girl’ began as a meme, some people are willing to let it slide as a ‘harmless joke’, but this ‘joke’ has consequences. Countless women have experienced the shock and disbelief of male fans (or dudebros) when revealing their gender (usually through an online server), but this shock is often met with suspicion and the arrogant demands that you ‘prove’ your status as a fan or ‘geek’. If your answers are met with approval (a rarity I assure you) this often leads to ridiculous ‘free’ gifts and niceties which if not met with your pants dropping off, result in verbal slurs, sexist remarks and often threats of violence. If deemed ‘fake’ from the beginning skip the gift giving, it’s abusive juvenile behaviour from the start.
Whether you’re treated like a goddess (rolls eyes) or treated like a predator of geeky men (rolls eyes to infinity and beyond) women are consistently singled out. It all results in the same sexist attitudes either you’re viewed as a rare prize to obtain, a seductress, a liar who has no right to call herself ‘geek’ or just told to get back in the kitchen. This attitude robs us of part of our identities, as we are constantly told we cannot love this culture, as we are women.
With women underrepresented in nearly all forms of media that don’t fall under the bracket of ‘health and beauty’ it’s a wonder we even enjoy nerd culture. What female characters we have are often sexualised to a ridiculous degree (animated boob jiggling, seriously?) and our enthusiasm is greeted with contempt or gross sexist remarks. Yet still we love it and we have every right to obsess over a particular show or wear a marvel t-shirt without having encyclopaedic knowledge of everything we enjoy (male nerds certainly don’t).
The idea that women can’t enjoy anything geeky without an ulterior motive is frankly, stupid. The trope of the ‘fake geek girl’ boils down to the sexist nature of the nerd community whose tree house is marked with large red writing screaming ‘NO GIRLS ALLOWED’ and is armed with a variety of water bombs each filled with misogynistic rubbish. I say we as a collective gender identity burst this normalised misogyny and paint the tree house hot pink. Sexism isn’t here to stay, but we are.
Image credit: http://dissentofawoman.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/